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Venugopal resumes duty as AIIMS Director

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, July 8 (UNI) AIIMS Director P Venugopal, whose dismissal was stayed by the Delhi High Court yesterday, resumed duty today.

Though Dr Venugopal did not attend to any patients, he cleared some files in his office, sources in his office said.

''He came in at about 1200 hrs for about half an hour and cleared some file... There were some administrative issues which needed his immediate attention'' they added.

Doctors, patients and well wishers had gathered in large numbers outside the Director's office to welcome him.

After the court order, the Director had said he would not compromise on the dignity of the Institute and continue to fight for its autonomy. He had said he would ignore the ''personal humiliation meted out to him'' Dr Venugopal was dismissed on Wednesday by the AIIMS Institute Governing Body, headed by Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, for violating the code of conduct of the premier institute.

Within minutes of the decision, doctors and medical students in the premier institute went on a flash strike in protest, crippling medical services, including emergency and casualty. The next day, four medicos had begun a fast unto death.

On Thursday, the 62-year-old cardiologist, who performed the first successful heart transplant in India, moved the High Court against the decision, which was stayed yesterday. The next hearing of the case is on August 17.

Last night, AIIMS doctors and medical students called off their three-day strike, following the High Court's stay on the controversial decision.

The casualty had started functioning immediately and the emergency and OPD resumed services from this morning.

Patients, who were denied treatment due to medical lock-out over the past three days, thronged the hospital today.

The Health Minister and the AIIMS Director were on a war path for some-time.

The Health Minister had accused the AIIMS administration of ''not performing its duties'' during the past two years.

As the President of the Institute, Dr Ramadoss had made some direct appointments and transfers of senior functionaries, including the Dean, in the institute, bypassing the Director.

Dr Venugopal was criticised for allowing the almost 16-day anti-quota reservation in May to be run from the institute's premises and ''being lenient '' with the agitating doctors and students.

On June 15, the AIIMS Director went public with his grievances against the Health Minister and threatened to resign.

He had accused Dr Ramadoss of ''systematic diluting and undermining'' the autonomy of AIIMS and the authority of the director. Dr Venugopal had also apprised the Prime Minister about the situation.

The AIIMS Director had alleged that the Health Minister was also ''interfering '' in day-to-day working of AIIMS.

He then proceeded on leave for almost ten days.

Dr Ramadoss had denied the charges and accused the AIIMS administration of not performing its duties well for the past two years.


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